Last month, for the first time in 37 years the US United Auto Workers (UAW) union launched a two-day nationwide strike against General Motors. The strike involved 73,000 production workers. It was over a two-tier wage structure, plant closures, outsourcing, forced 10-hour work days, and various classification and work rule changes.
The strike brought GM production to a halt. According the the US rank and file union magazine Labor Notes there was confusion over the union’s strategy for the strike.
The settlement the union has obtained leaves a lot to be desired, including a wage freeze for hourly workers. The biggest issue remains the off-loading of some health care costs onto the workforce.
Some groups of workers are beginning to organise around a campaign to get publicly funded healthcare plans.